Another day in pads is in the books for the Las Vegas Raiders.
It was another hot day in the desert at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nevada. With another day of Training Camp under the belt, players are starting to slowly improve each and every day, particularly the rookies and second year players. The Raiders' draft capital is starting to reveal itself on the field with Alex Leatherwood, Tre'Von Moehrig, Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III being just a few players that I've seen make an impact on the field today.
Here's my top takeaways from Wednesday morning's practice.
No. 25 is live
Hunter Renfrow is one of the best route runners on the Raiders. However, he was challenged by the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner.
During one-on-one drills between defensive backs and receivers, second-round pick Tre’von Moehrig had the opportunity of going up against the slot machine himself in Renfrow. In their one encounter with each other, Moehrig showed off his ability to cover and got a nice pass breakup on Renfrow. The breakup didn't go unnoticed, especially considering Moehrig is a safety making a play on the ball as if he's a cornerback. Definitely something that got quarterback Derek Carr -- and myself -- excited.
"This guy can actually cover so it's impressive – especially Hunter, that guy doesn't get covered," Carr said of Moehrig's pass breakup. "God bless Moehrig, the next day we go out there and he has to cover Hunter, he doesn't like to get covered twice. When he lines up and accepts that challenge, it's a mismatch for the defense – a safety on a slot receiver. But he lined up, accepted that challenge and he made the play.
"That excites me as a quarterback because I want him to do that to [Patrick] Mahomes. I want him to break those passes up, and I think that will be a good thing for everybody."
View photos from another day of practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center during 2021 Training Camp.
Big Wood holding his own
Another rookie who impressed me today was Alex Leatherwood.
The reigning Outland Trophy Award winner has had high expectations on him being implemented as the starting right tackle from the beginning of OTAs. There's been a couple of growing pains on the field getting acclimated to the speed of the NFL, but he's starting to come into his own. Leatherwood had a couple of nice blocks on Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell today during live reps. Looking forward to seeing more of Leatherwood throughout the duration of Training Camp and in preseason action.
Bryan Edwards is a big man
Ask anyone around the Raiders facilities and they'll tell you how excited they are for Bryan Edwards.
During camp, he's been on a mission. He's not only been creating separation on his routes, but is also using his physicality to go up over defensive backs and catch tightly contested passes. He caught a few really nice passes over Keisean Nixon and Amik Robertson. He's also made some good catches on Trayvon Mullen Jr. and Casey Hayward Jr. earlier in Training Camp as well.
After the majority of his rookie season with plagued with injuries, Edwards has looked in great shape and has "put the past behind me" going into this upcoming season.
"I just had such high expectations for myself," Edwards said of his rookie year to the media Wednesday. "I put that pressure on myself and I wanted to be a guy in this league and for this team. When I got hurt and I went down, it was real tough on me just mentally. Trying to force myself a little early to get back – it just didn't go the way I wanted to go."
Head Coach Jon Gruden has compared him to Terrell Owens, I've seen some shades of Randy Moss and Carr said he wants to throw to Edwards with the same consistency he did to Davante Adams back at Fresno State. All the hype behind the 6-foot-2, 212-pound receiver has caught the attention of another big body legend that used to play in stripes.